It's Friday, so that means its ShopRite day.  Or as it's also known, weekly grocery store day.  Although I do take trips to other grocery stores and I do end up getting groceries more than once a week (and it's becoming an expensive trend), Friday is THE day that we (the hubby and I) do our big load.  (The load that's supposed to take us through the week, but never really does.)  For the longest time (and I'm not sure how long), Friday has been "our day" to grocery shop.  

In the beginning it was a weird kind of date night.  Who has a date night in the aisles of Shoprite?  I guess we did.  We'd go on Friday night and maybe grab something for dinner.  When our son came along, we adjusted our schedule.  When we could (back in the days when my son fit in a baby carrier), we'd go during the day; something we really tried to do because it was so much easier than Friday evening.  Any time that is easy for a family is the right time.  (I can remember one time when my son was a baby and he was up all night and there was no way any of us could sleep and I wished there was a grocery store that was open 24 hours so that we could DO something instead of lying there being frustrated.)

Within the past 5 years or so we adjusted again.  The ShopRite we frequent opened at 7 in the morning, so my husband and I would rush out, shop and come home in time for me to get the boy off to school.  And me off to the office.  (Remember going to an office?)  The days where my son had to go be at school by 7:30, we'd go after and the store would be a little more crowded and I'd be a little more rushed to get to work on time.  (I sometimes ended up walking into the building at 9:15 which drove me crazy, but no one else care or even noticed!) 

When my son started high school in the fall of 2019, it was easy to get up, run to ShopRite, come home, unload and get him to school and me to work.  

That all changed on Friday, March 13th.  For some reason we dropped him off at school and then went to ShopRite.  I was working from home that day because he was about to go on a 2 week hiatus from physical school.  (Ok, so that's what we thought THEN!) And needed to bring home everything from his locker.  I thought he might need me to pick him up to bring it all home.  (He didn't)

Arriving at Shoprite before 8 AM was unbelievable. You would have thought that it was Christmas Eve and everyone had forgotten to buy everything they needed for the holiday.  Only it wasn't.  And what they were buying was...well EVERYTHING.  It looked like this...

It was unbelievable.  But then we were about to go into an unbelievable time.  A time that we THOUGHT would be relatively brief.  (HA!)  We adjusted.  We got what we could and came home.

The following week, we really ADJUSTED.  With some health issues, my husband no longer wanted to go.  So I went alone.   This continued to be a trend.  I started to wear a face covering.  (In the beginning it was a scarf, which wouldn't stay up.)  I started shopping for other people who couldn't or didn't feel comfortable going out to shop.  The first couple of weeks were really challenging and stressful.  I couldn't see well.  I didn't want to carry purse.  (A wristlet became my best friend for nearly a year.)  Navigating the store (which was under construction at the time) was difficult.  But I adjusted.  It was slow and difficult, but I got through it.

ShopRite changed their operating hours during this pandemic.  They opened an hour earlier and I took advantage of it.  With the earlier hour and less people, my husband joined me in shopping again, which definitely made things easier and quicker.  

As time went by, the need to shop for others diminished.  Pretty soon I was just picking up a few sale items for our local food pantry and buying groceries for just us and my Aunt Julie.  The established routine was to call Julie on Thursday and get a list of items that she needed.  During the colder months, we'd leave the groceries by her back door and she'd put an envelope out for me.  During the warmer months, I'd bring her groceries to my home and make sure refrigerated items were kept cold.  Then I'd call and check in the late morning, bring her groceries by on my "lunch break."

Last Friday was my last grocery run for her.  She has moved back to her hometown. (She is doing well, even if she is still surrounded by boxes and the realization that she has too much "stuff" for her small apartment.)  All she needed was a loaf of bread.  I got it for her and then got so engrossed with work that it wasn't until I went to pick my son up at work and passed by her house that I realized I'd never dropped off the bread!  All those weeks and months I'd never forgotten and here it was her last week and I did! 

Actually, so did she!  When I called, she had been spending the day working and finalizing for the move.  We laughed and after I drove my son home, I grabbed the bread and turned back around and went to her house to drop it off.

Today was the first Friday in approximately 72 weeks that I didn't pick up anything for her.  It was hard NOT to go to the fish counter and get her 1/4 pound of salmon.  Or get a quart of milk, a pack of Swiss cheese or some fresh green beans.   Even as I write this, I think to myself that I need to go drop off her groceries, even though I know there are none and that her house is empty.  It's another adjustment I'll make.

No delivery for Aunt Julie.  Mask back on at the store. Life is full of adjustments.  We don't have to like them, but...Life is all about adjusting.  Life is about adapting.  And most importantly, about doing the right thing.


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